a short story by Julie Arduini
Dani Beckwith turned on the bedroom reading light and checked out her inflamed index finger. The splinter lodged deep, deep enough she felt like her heartbeat centered in her finger.
"Hey baby, you okay?"
Dani turned around and saw her husband of fifteen months, Seth, propped up on his pillow. She gave a meek smile and thrust her finger towards him.
"Wow Dani, how did you do that? That looks pretty deep."
"Staining the deck."
Seth held and kissed her finger.
"Do you want me to take it out? My dad used to take a sterile needle and dig mine out. Worked like a charm."
She pulled her finger back, shaking her head. "No way, it will hurt too much."
"Doesn't it hurt now?"
Dani sighed. Seth was out of their bed, tying a second knot in his maroon robe.
"It's ok Seth, it will disappear. Really."
Her words bounced off the walls. He was downstairs finding the needle.
Dani considered locking herself in the bathroom. The thought of a needle digging into her skin was enough to make her shake. It was the same kind of feeling she had when she and Seth had a conflict. Even though their fights were typical for newlyweds, she feared them. They reminded her of her parents. Those fights were caustic and vengeful, deep wounds forever embedded in them, Dani, and Dani's younger brother. Dani never wanted to live that way.
"Ready for surgery?" Seth smiled, needle in hand.
Dani couldn't stop shaking. She thought her head would spin off her body.
"Sweetheart, what's wrong? This is going to hurt less than what you're feeling right now."
"I can't. I'm scared."
"Don't you trust me? I'd never hurt you on purpose."
Dani started to sob. The truth stabbed at her spirit.
"What? What did I do?"
Dani stared at her finger, using it to wipe off the tears. She took a few deep breaths.
"Splinters are like words. I realized how deep hurtful words go. I hate when we fight. It reminds me of"
Seth finished. Dani nodded. Seth sat next to her, holding her close.
"Good point, splinters hurt and so do words. But you know, I think of the needle as what God does to us. It's scary to trust Him, it feels like it would hurt worse than the wound, but it actually is the best thing. But if you leave the splinter in there, it could get infected and spread. We've both seen what poisoned words can do. So really, taking the splinter out is the smart thing to do."
She glanced at the needle.
"I never thought of it that way. You know, I get so scared when we fight. I'm afraid you'll leave or that we'll end up miserable like my parents. My instinct tells me to run. Just like now. That needle looks so scary but you're right, it's a tool for healing. Okay, I can do this. No, wait."
Seth looked in her watery blue eyes.
"What? What do you mean wait?"
"I mean not I can do this, but we can. We can do this."
Julie Arduini is devoted to writing for Christ in ways that encourage and inspire. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, her writing resume is on her blog's sidebar. Happily married to Tom, they have two children.
Her website is: thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com